Summary: Revelation 12:9 message, Satan the deceiver of the whole world
Last week, we studied the permanent banning of Satan and his demons from heaven in verses seven and eight. This week, we are going to study just one verse from chapter 12, verse 9, but also look at how we are to defend against the "wiles of the devil.
Let's look again at the names of Satan here.
Great Dragon. Satan is great in his power, his intelligence and in his hatred toward mankind, especially God's people. He has great violence in mind for God's people. While throughout history this bloodthirst has reared it's ugly head, it is during the Tribulation period that the world will endure the greatest of bloody slaughter it has ever known.
Serpent of Old. This is a reference to Satan's appearance in the Garden of Eden, and the deception of Adam and Eve into sin that permanently damaged the entire world...and universe.
Devil. The term diabolos in Koine Greek translates to "devil", and means "slanderer, defamer, false accuser".
Satan. Satan (satanos, Koine Greek) means "adversary". Satan is adverse to each and everything that God does, and each and everything that God's people do.
(the one who) Deceives the whole world. Satan's world system, as he is "the god of this world".
This week, we will discuss each of these titles more in depth, but also take a look at some of the lies of Satan that people--including Christians--believe.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9 (NKJV)
I think that we have all met someone in life that is, as an old timer told me once, "slicker than deer guts on a doorknob". That statement was meant as a term of endearment, as he loved my preaching, but I think we all have met folks that this idiom applies as someone that is devious, who is deceptive, who seeks to pull the wool over your eyes. Most likely, as much as you may think you cannot or will not be deceived, you most likely have been or I guarantee you will be.
Nearly all people know that Satan was the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but many people do know exactly what it was that Satan wanted to achieve. Adam and Eve were in the Garden as perfect, sinless people in a perfect place. They had it made. They lived in paradise, were told to reproduce and multiply, to tend to the garden and basically do whatever they wanted with one caveat: don't eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were told that on if they did, they would die.
Satan appears, and is described as cunning (NKJV), crafty, (NASB) subtle (KJV, Young's), shrewdest (NLT). In short, "slicker than deer guts on a doorknob". What he does is so basic to begin with, that we often miss it: "Did God really say you must not eat fruit from any of the trees in the garden" (Gen 1b, NLT emphasis mine). What does Satan do? He casts doubt on God's Word (spoken here), and thus casts doubt on God himself.
Satan intentionally misquotes God's Word, and draws out a misquote from Eve: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.' " (Genesis 3:3, NKJV) Why she misquoted this is uncertain; some say that Adam must have told her this but I find this highly unlikely as Adam would have sinned in misquoting God, then sin would have entered into the world. At any rate, she misquoted God; how often do we do the same thing? There are numerous times when we quote scripture incorrectly, and it ends up getting us into great trouble.
What Satan seeks to do next is to not only cast doubt on God's Word, but on God himself and that, basically, God is holding out on Adam and Eve. Satan was saying "you can be like God, you can be God too!" I heard a quote from a popular science fiction show where the character said "Most men would kill for the opportunity to be a god for a day"; this was the great temptation that Satan held out to Eve. Eve, stepping out from under the protection of her husband (whom was with her, verse 6b). However, God put Adam in the position of being Eve's protector, which he did not do; this is why it is "Adam's sin" and not "Eve's sin". Sin entered the universe and death and destruction followed.
Important lesson? Satan seeks to cast doubt on God's Word, and by making people think that they too can be God. Every time we sin as Christians, we doubt God's Word--and put ourselves in the place of God, often to our destruction.